Friday, February 26, 2010

Transformers: Bunk Beds in Disguise!

A piece of furniture on Epic Win | FTW?! I thought I'd never live to see the day when a convertible sofabed was considered to be full of pwnage.

This sofa, called "DOC," is from ResourceFurniture in New York. It's a part of their "Space Savers" line of beds; most beds either transform into sofas, or disappear completely into the wall. This is perfect for someone looking to hide their own bed and maximize their space, or for someone without a lot of room but who still wants to be able to host overnight guests.

Another, clearer shot of the DOC

While we're on amazing transforming furniture, I have to share this astounding table:

It doesn't exactly look tiny or affordable, but it's still mesmerizing. More furniture makers should be encouraged to make their pieces adjustable or convertible; I know we TAA dwellers would appreciate the flexibility!

Via Epic Win, Resource Furniture, StyleAtHome's Twitter feed, and Jason Fitzpatrick's (the yummiest Lifehacker editor, mrawr) Twitter feed.

A Stunning San Franciscan Studio

When I come home to youu, San Francisco, your golden suuun will shiiiine on meee!

... Actually, according to my mother, it's raining in the Bay Area right now. *Sigh* I wish I were there! It's supposed to rain here in LA this weekend, but LA rain isn't the same as San Francisco rain. For starters, everyone in LA FLIPS THE EFF OUT, like water falling from the sky is one of the signs of the End of Days.

I'd especially like to be in San Francisco, living in this adorable studio. The big windows would be perfect for looking out onto the misty city and listening to the drops beat against the glass.

Cristie, the subject of Apartment Therapy: San Francisco's latest housecall, has lived in her teeny-tiny studio for about a year and a half. She estimates that it's only about 300 square feet, but her well-chosen, eclectic furniture keeps the space from feeling crowded. She says that she spent little money on doing up her place, mostly finding things on sale or purchasing things from Craigslist. A tiny-ass apartment on a tiny-ass budget! I love this girl.

I also love love love the built-in in her kitchen. It provides much-needed storage, but the beautiful trim gives it a bit more charm than just shelves-in-the-wall. It's very San Franciscan-looking.

And I still can't get over that window. That's a window you see on a movie or TV set. I half-expect Jennifer Aniston to go to the window and make some crack about the Ugly Naked Guy in the apartment across the way...

Via Apartment Therapy: San Francisco.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blog It Forward update!

Victoria at SFGirlByBay posted a mini-roundup of what's been going on in the Blog It Forward mashup so far. Yours truly (and my imaginary bestie, Dita Von Teese) makes an appearance! Check it out, and don't forget to check out the other participating bloggers!

Tearing down the walls

What goes up must come down -- especially when you're renting. To follow up on a previous post about temporary wall paper (like my own post here), CasaSugar decided to test out the removal process.

Overall, removal seemed to be a success. You should pull the paper away from the wall slowly and steadily, using both hands if you can. If there's a rip or some of the liner pulls away from the paper, stop, peel the offending piece until you're working with just the one sheet again, and continue on. There may be some residue left on the wall, but that can be scraped or washed off. Check out the full post at CasaSugar for the full rundown.

Via CasaSugar. Image from Flickr user Salamander!.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Take a Memo: A Modern Secretary

Whenever I think of a secretary desk, I think of something old-school and traditional. My friend Ryan just moved into a place in Long Beach that has a built-in secretary, and I just about died of jealousy (or Los AnJEALOUSy!). Secretaries are also great for a small space; when closed they take up less room than a traditional desk, plus it'll hide your mess from sight.

But if you're looking for something more modern, PointClickHome's featuring a funky secretary desk found on DesignSpotter.

This robin's-egg-blue-and-white wooden wonder is named "Alley" by its designer, Isabel Ersa Hallerstedt of Sweden, and was recently shown at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. It features seven cubbies, plus a few drawers to sock away all your stuff, and the two front legs fold out to support the drop-down desktop. The asymmetrical interior makes it more playful than your stereotypically stodgy secretary, so if you want some whimsy to brighten your mood when you sit down to pay your bills, go down this Alley.

Via PointClickHome and DesignSpotter.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More than just a one nightstand

It's nice to find that you're more than a one night stand. Oh nightstands, you mean more to me than just a one-time fling -- or one-time post. Please come back to me!

This post on Apartment Therapy: Los Angeles prompted me to revisit the issue of bedside storage with limited space. Over on IKEA Hacker, reader Angela submitted her creative repurposing idea: wall-mounting a basket and toothbrush cup holder next to the bed in lieu of a traditional nightstand.

I love this idea! You can toss your book, TV remote, and eyeglasses into the basket before you drift off, and place your glass of water on the cupholder. I do have to echo the commenters on the AT post, though: what if you're just not coordinated enough for the Lillholmen toothbrush cupholder? I know that when I'm groggy I can barely get up and walk from the bedroom to the bathroom sometimes. The nuanced hand-eye coordination required to maneuver the glass onto the small cupholder might be too much. And can you imagine the disasters if you mounted this next to your loft bed?

But it does give me another idea: maybe rig a glass of water to an alarm clock so that it dumps water on you in the morning?

Via Apartment Therapy: Los Angeles, IKEA Hacker, and IKEA.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In Memoriam: Robin Sillau

After my post about loft beds, which featured some of the work of Robin Sillau, I received a saddening email from her mother, Holly. Robin passed away last month at the age of 25. Obviously, I did not know Robin personally, but it's heartbreaking to find that someone so young and talented has left us far too early. My thoughts go out to her family, and I thought I'd post some pictures of her work for us all to appreciate.

Via Hilary White Interior Design, Decor8. Please also check out PhotoMatt7 and Don Kim Music for more memories of Robin.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blog it Forward - What Inspires Me

I knew that the "Blog It Forward" topic, "What Inspires Me" was going to get me in trouble. When I'm writing, I get EXTREMELY verbose. I can yammer on and on about almost anything. Can you imagine the trouble I have condensing my thoughts on Twitter? And now that I've got a whole post to expound upon everything that makes me look and think twice, well... For your sake, I'm going to TRY and keep it short. And one note: I went through all my "right-click-save-as" picture files for this post, but some pictures were saved before I even thought of starting a blog, and therefore I don't have the source any more. If you're the owner of the picture and want to receive credit, shoot me an email and I'll be happy to add it!

Film & TV

I often say that the Star Wars original trilogy are my favorite sentimental films, and Rushmore is my favorite adult film. (Uh, not that kind of "adult film," obviously.) I grew up on Star Wars, but saw Rushmore while I was pretty-much-almost-kinda grown-up. I'm a science fiction nerd thanks to Princess Leia Organa, and Wes Anderson's films charmed me with their old school but quirky style. (If you look, Dr. Guggenheim ONLY wears tweed -- and his office is full of tweed furniture, too!) I'll also be forever thankful to Mad Men on AMC for not only being incredibly entertaining, but for inspiring clothing and home designers alike to bring back the look of the early 1960s. (I'm also thankful to the show for bringing me Christina Hendricks every week.)


Fashion and interior design truly go hand-in-hand. While some art snobs may sniff that only the fine arts are worthy of study, both fashion and decor take the mundane and the practical and turn them into things of beauty. I mean, you could wear a purely utilitarian uniform every day, but why would you want to? I'd definitely rather be wearing this...

Dita Von Teese is my personal style icon. Ever notice that when you're dressed up, you just feel a little more special? A little more "on?" A little more powerful? So why not feel like that all the time? She revels in her femininity, and exudes a confidence that offsets the perceived weakness associated with being so "girly."

When it doesn't feel like a red lipstick day, the other designers and retailers I gravitate toward have a decidedly simpler and preppier look, like Michael Kors, Banana Republic, J Crew, Kate Spade and someday -- someday -- Herm├Ęs.

Art, Colors, & Motifs

Can you be a preppy goth? I mean, after clothes like that, it seems a little weird that I'm fascinated by goth and steampunk styles. I love decorating with the macabre: skulls, dry dead branches, turn-of-the-century curiosities, birds of the night, images of abandoned houses. I like using grays and blacks, with hints of royal purple or robin's egg blue.

My two favorite artists: John Singer-Sargent and Alphonse Mucha. Singer-Sargent's paintings seem to glow from within, and Mucha's swirling, flowery details and rich colors make me wish I could live in a world where everything's been Mucha-ized.

This section I can't describe as anything more than my "motifs." They're just images I like, for no real rhyme or reason, but show me a throw pillow or piece of jewelry with a picture of one of these things on it, and I'm sure to pick it up and take it to the cash register.

Bare branches, skeleton keys, quatrefoils, owls, skulls and bones, cameos and silhouettes, ampersands, tartan and plaid.

I also love tattoos -- but only on people. Old tattoo-style prints like Ed Hardy makes me cringe with sympathetic embarrassment for the wearer. But a real tattoo... Let's just say that when I notice a boy, I usually start at his sleeved arms, then travel up to his face. Here's my favorite that I've ever seen. It's definitely influenced the tattoo I'm working on for myself: an etching-style skeleton key.

People & Places

While I do have my favorite designers (Amy Butler, Thomas Paul, Nate Berkus, Martha Stewart), no one's influenced me as much as my mother. I'm incredibly lucky to have been raised to appreciate and create art, from field trips to Bay Area museums, to art projects at the kitchen table, to visiting her and finding that the walls are a new color and the garden's been relandscaped, to seeing her create watercolors, pastels, collages, sketches, jewelry... I admire the fact that she's always working on something, and has been as long as I can remember.

Mom and the puppies

I'm also constantly inspired by my friends. They're a rockin' bunch of smart, funny, talented, strong, beautiful ladies who have great taste. After all, I'm their friend!

Ah, the best city in the world: San Francisco. I absolutely left my heart there; I miss it constantly. I love the cool gray weather, the undulating streets, the pride it takes in its architecture, and just the feeling you get from being in such an intelligent, plugged-in city. The energy of the people is positive and inquisitive. We may all be pinko commie hippie liberals, but at least we're constantly thinking and creating and questioning. But, I live in Hollywood now, and I gotta admit it's grown on me. The weather's been mid-70s and sunny all week, and it's February. Plus, Lark Bakery is here.

Around the Interwebz

And finally, how could I not mention all the websites that bring me my inspiration on a daily basis? That is the reason for this blog mashup, after all!

Aesthetic Outburst
Apartment Therapy
Elements of Style
Habitually Chic
Mighty Haus
Oh Happy Day
Oh Joy!
The Office Stylist

So now we've come to the real mashup part of the program. And so: check out Tile Envy, who came before me, and Tortagialla, who'll have her inspiration post up Monday!

Don't forget to check out everyone else participating too!

And one more thing about my inspiration. The things above are inspirations to my aesthetic style for the most part. They introduce new colors, patterns, techniques, and styles to me, at once expanding and refining my own tastes. But there's another way in which they inspire me. My friends, family, and fellow bloggers also inspire me to do what I do. I had been working at a job that I HATED, but after that ended (in a most unceremonious fashion), I decided to take the opportunity to finally focus on what I actually enjoyed doing. The people around me have encouraged me with their own examples of doing what they love, and have supported me in my own endeavor. I couldn't be luckier. Thank you, guys!

Sigh. Well, there goes that whole "keeping it short" thing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Anthro, eat your heart out

Time for another drool-worthy studio! Featured on Apartment Therapy: NY (can you tell that AT is the first site I visit on my Google Reader?), Ida lives in a parlor-turned-studio in the Harlem/Sugar Hill area of New York.
The giant windows and the mirror above the fireplace fill the room with natural light, and the gray walls tone it down and keep the brightness from assaulting your eyes. I like the airy color palette going on in here: the gray walls, the white mantel and moulding and bedding, anchored with a few earthy neutrals at floor-level. It looks like a freakin' Anthropologie catalogue! I also have to agree with one of the commenters on the AT post: putting the bed and settee on a diagonal is a great idea. It makes the place feel less formal and more dynamic.
Ida not only lucked out in finding this awesome place, but she's got a flair for detail herself. The newsprint flower on her mantel is adorable! Via Apartment Therapy: NY.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

20 Weirdest Apartment Buildings

While I can't vouch for the tininess of the apartments located within, KoldCast TV (via Neatorama) has a list of the 20 Weirdest Apartment Buildings in the world, and some truly have to be seen to be believed. Actually, I still don't believe some of them are real. (And turns out some of them aren't -- two on the list are "to be built.") My favorite is the Urban Cactus High Rise (below), located in Amsterdam. It looks organic and futuristic at the same time, as if it's a part of a future where city-dwellers have to farm on buildings to sustain themselves.
I also dig Container City 1 in London. Shipping containers turned into homes have been around for a while, but it's seeing a resurgence in today's more eco-conscious climate.
Finally, I had to give a nod to Marina City in Chicago. It also graces the cover of one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite bands.

There is not a single bad song on this album, you have my word on that.
Via KoldCast.TV and Neatorama. Wilco's "Hotel Yankee Foxtrot" album art from Wikipedia.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Restoration Hardware, I presume?

"Living out of a suitcase" taken to a new level. Though this steamer trunk office from Restoration Hardware is damn spendy at $2,995, it definitely still falls under the "tiny" category. A whole home office in a space as big as your shower, and it's closeable and moveable too!
The "Mayfair Steamer Secretary," featured on The Office Stylist, makes me think of something Dr. Livingstone would have brought along on his explorations -- if he really needed to bring his iMac with him. (C'mon, David, the MacBook is so much more travel-friendly! Well, not that they had either of those in the 1870s, but still.) Even if you can't afford this beauty of leather and nailhead, you can still take away some inspiration from how compact this workstation is. Everything is kept neat and tidy in labeled cubbies of varying sizes, and the uniformity of their design lets the eye glide over them uninterrupted.
If only more offices used these instead of those awful gray-fabric walled cubicles. Work would feel a little more like a safari. (But only a little more -- most of us already have to deal with wild beasts every day anyway!) Via The Office Stylist and Restoration Hardware.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Storage tips: Hard Rock Edition

I've been known to plunk plunk plunk on my bass guitar every once and again. (And with a bum knee, I've been at it more than ever.) When I'm not thickening the calluses on my fingertips by practicing, I like having my bass on display in my living room. Musical instruments can be a beautiful addition to a home -- but what if you're a rocker-type with more guitars than space?
The Guitar Hanger, featured on Apartment Therapy: SF, is an interesting solution. If you've got more closet space than floorspace, consider this handy tool. It's a hanger that holds your guitar by the neck and hangs it from a traditional clothing hanger rod like the one in your closet. Dress shirt, sport coat, Fender, leather jacket...
I also like this idea because a guitar collection that's visible from your windows can be pretty tempting for a burglar. Hiding your babies in the closet at least ensures a kind of "out of sight, out of mind" safety. But if you're not concerned about theft, you could also use these hangers to mount your guitars on the wall. Just put a few hooks on the wall to hold the hangers, and you can swap out your guitar display whenever you feel like it. Sometimes you're in a steel guitar mood, sometimes it's a Flying V day... And for the less musically-inclined: yes, Rock Band guitars fit too.
Via Apartment Therapy: SF and Guitar Hanger.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lofty Ideals

When I was a kid, I wanted a bunk bed SO BAD. The idea of having a secret lair, high above the floor (and at the perfect height for dropping things on my younger brother’s head) was intensely alluring. Our family friends even had three-story bunk beds in their Lake Tahoe cabin. I got the top bunk because I was the oldest. It was heaven – until I fell from the top of the ladder one day. That kinda sucked. As I grew up, I rethought the bunk bed idea. I couldn’t think of a worse romance-killer than having to climb up a ladder to the top of a bed that would undoubtedly sway with the, ah, activities going on. Plus there’s the risk of hitting your head on the ceiling, or falling off the side – no, it’s not worth the risk. Or is it? I’ve come across quite a few stylish loft beds lately; most of them appear quite sturdy, and some are owned by couples, so you know they’ve been “road-tested.” There are two kinds of loft beds: those that are standalone pieces of furniture, and those that are built into the architecture of the room. Standalone:

Hacked IKEA bed from Apartment Therapy: Chicago Tisha's entry in Apartment Therapy's 2008 Smallest, Coolest contest Charlie Brown's home tour on Apartment Therapy: NY

Making room for a new baby by building up, from FresHome An enclosed built-in featured on Dornob An incredible built-in featured on Apartment Therapy: NY; the London loft incorporates sleeping area, kitchen, closet, and bathroom Even though this loft bed is incomplete, I love how the window goes up and over to bring a view and light to the sleeping area. (There are also great suggestions for loft bed ladders if you click on the linked pic.)
There are also several options for getting up into your loft bed. You could employ a ladder, stairs, or something a lil’ different like a Tansu step chest. Stairs:

A Seattle apartment shown on Apartment Therapy: SF for their Smallest, Coolest

Images from Furniture for Small Spaces and Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering
Tansu step-chests (a little redundant, since "tansu" means "chest" in Japanese) are traditional wooden Japanese storage chests. According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, they "were often designed in several modular pieces. This was used to avoid taxation on other areas of a home when taxes were levied based on the size of ones home. When the tax collectors were coming around the chest that functioned as stairs up to a separate level could be moved so that their function could be hidden." You may not have a secret level that you hide from the taxman, but a tansu chest could still make for a clever way to get up to your sleeping area, while providing storage to boot. The whole point of a loft bed is to increase the useable space below it, of course. Two popular uses are to convert the underside of your loft into a home office or closet area. Closet:

Another Smallest Coolest entry, from Victor and Soeuns Domino staffer Robin Sillau converted her tiny apartment into a loft, as featured on Decor8 And this bed, another Smallest Coolest 2008 entrant, appears to have both closet and office space underneath
And how about including your office space in the loft? (Apparently, when you include another living space along with your lofted bed -- like an office -- it makes it more a "mezzanine" bed.)
A bed/office combo, as shown on Dornob
And, just ‘cause I want to: the owners of Katamari, one of my favorite internet kitties and the cutest Scottish fold EVAR, have a loft bed that Katamari’s taken to quite nicely:
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